We all have those desperate days when we have prayed, and anxiously waited, but no answer comes. In fact, the silence of God seems stone deafening!
We wait, we hope, we pray some more, but there is only silence—and that only increases our desperation. We know God knows our predicament, we know God sees, yet His silence seems to be His only response? Why?
I used to believe that God’s silence meant He was angry with me—that I must have done something wrong.
C. S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed,
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness . . . On the rebound one passes into tears and pathos. Maudlin tears. I almost prefer the moments of agony. These are at least clean and honest . . .
Meanwhile, where is God? . . . When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him . . . if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be – or so it feels – welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become . . .
Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?
Waiting through God’s silence can be some of the toughest waiting we will ever do!
Author Jon Bloom writes,
God can be maddeningly hard to get. When God says that his ways are not our ways, he really means it (Isaiah 55:8).
We have these encounters with him where He breaks into our lives with power and answers our prayers and wins our trust and waters the garden of our faith, making it lush and green.
And then there are these seasons when chaos careens with apparent carelessness through our lives and the world, leaving us shattered. Or an unrelenting darkness descends. Or an arid wind we don’t even understand blows across our spiritual landscape, leaving the crust of our soul cracked and parched. And we cry to God in our confused anguish and he just seems silent. He seems absent.
When God Seems Silent [Desiring God.org]
But, Oswald Chambers encourages us by asking this question,
Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes.
—Oswald Chambers, God’s Silence
If men such as these have wrestled with God’s silence? Well then, at least I know, I wait for God in the company of greatness.
Somehow that soothes my weary soul and encourages me to endure yet one more day.
O God, don’t sit idly by, silent and inactive when we pray. Answer us! Deliver us! Don’t you hear the tumult and commotion of your enemies? Don’t you see what they are doing, these proud men who hate the Lord? They are full of craftiness and plot against your people, laying plans to slay your precious ones. Psalm 83:1-3